The University’s Latinx dance troupe, Mezcla, hosted two high-energy, sold-out shows Friday and Saturday night in Alumnae Hall. The shows celebrated the group’s 25th anniversary as a campus organization.
The shows commenced at 7 p.m., and admission was free of charge to maintain Mezcla’s tradition of putting on a performance that is accessible to everyone. Still, over $500 in donations were graciously accepted at the end of the show.
Mezcla, which means “mixture” in Spanish, was formed by Elizabeth Garcia ’94 in order to form a space for a celebration of Latinx culture through dance, song and poetry, according to the group’s website. Mezcla has gained a reputation outside of Brown by hosting dance workshops in Providence schools, helping to foster the creation of Mariachi de Brown and the Latino Writing Circle and performing vibrant shows each year.
Mezcla’s dance director, Paola Jimenez ’20, shared her experience as a member of the group, which she joined her sophomore fall after watching the troupe’s spring show her freshman year. Being from Puerto Rico, the show reminded her of home, and she knew she wanted to join the vibrant community.
“It was great to reconnect with my old dance background, while still learning new dances, like samba, which I had never done before,” Jimenez told The Herald.
The show embraced a variety of music and dance methods, ranging from all different Latin styles, to Afro-Caribbean, and even contemporary, hip-hop and urban techniques. In addition, there were aspects of the show that featured singing, acting and voice-overs.
The routines varied in amount of dancers, style and even featured collaborations with other dance groups on campus including Impulse, Badmaash and Fusion. They also shared various messages, such as embracing salsa on the streets of Puerto Rico in “Oye Como Va,” kids dancing with their parents at family events in “Merengue Mundo” and Jimenez’s favorite, a routine that was inspired by protests in Latin America: “Undixs Pa’ La Calle.”
“Every member submitted a quote that reminded them about fighting for rights and protesting for something larger,” Jimenez explained of the performance, which combined dance with spoken phrases. “It also included dance styles that were presented as a form of resistance against an oppressor.” The routine brought members carrying different Latin American flags and involved everyone in the troupe.
Audience members Amy Wang ’20 and Jane Chen ’20 had never been to a Mezcla show. Wang said she “loved the experience.” She specifically noted the range of performance forms — from singing and dancing to acting — and the innovation the show presented. Chen commented on the emotion, energy, and electricity of the show.
The group began rehearsing for this show in September, and rehearsed multiple days a week from two to four hours. The troupe even returned to campus early from Winter Break to practice, Jimenez said.
“A lot of these routines are at least six minutes. They usually get around 10-15 hours of rehearsal time, with 15 or more people in them,” she said.
Looking forward, Mezcla will prepare for new member auditions in April and for performances at ADOCH and the Latinx commencement dinner this spring.